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Thanks to Andrew Lansley for setting out his position so quickly.
The benefits of transplants are undeniable but presumed consent means that bodies become public property. Nationalisation of people's organs is a step too far.

Surely there is a problem in presuming either way. In the absence of agreement, I think authorities should assume non-acceptance of donation post-mortem, but, since this leaves a big hole in organ availability, there should be some active attempt to discover each individual's preference.

Two simple possibilities occur to me.
a) Include an opt-in/opt-out question when voter registration cards are sent out.


b) Why not have GPs ask each patient they see to give a definitive answer (Y/N) and add this to their medical records?

There is only one word to describe presumed consent on organ donations: creepy.

The idea that when I die my body becomes the plaything of the state is wrong. I'm reminded of Charlton Heston:

"Soylent Green is people!"

Declaring your organs property of the state should just send chills of terror through every sane person. The next step is the state having a say in when you are "not viable".

NB: I have volunteered myself as an organ donor. However should this law pass I will withdraw that permission.

Those who support presumed consent for the removal of organs after death made a huge mistake in getting Bottler Brown to front their case.
The same Brown who as chancellor introduced all the steath taxes, who now wants to introduce stealth in taking away your body parts after you,ve died.
I can see some logic in the presumed consent argument however their case has surely been put back by the publics revulsion at Browns support for it.
I imagine matt and the other cartoonists will have a field day with this one,,, cartoons of Brown with a big knife waiting to carve up a body probably with the caption reading "Browns vison for Britain".
Brown will also be compared to the other famous Scottish grave robbers Burke and Hare although in Bottlers case and his governments instituionalised incompetence , he is far more a "Burke" than a Hare.

What's his next idea ? That the assets of all people who die without a will should go to the State as well ?

I agree with deborah @ 11.44, my instant reaction was 'no way' (well in modern parlance at least!). Given all the other ideas that Gordie and his team have 'aired' since he has been our glorious leader, not all of which have been adopted, one can understand why some people now call him Stalin.

Perhaps his next idea will be to insist that EVERYBODY is cremated! Just imagine how much land it would free up for housing! Added to that he might even suggest that existing graves be done away with and the headstones put in museums for people to go and look at (out of the rain) - yet more land for his favorite subject - housing. And that is not such a crazy and far-fetched idea as it may sound because if immigration continues at the level it is at the moment, graveyards may well come under 'pressure' in the not too distant future!

The dour control freak Brown will only be happy when he owns everything you have,even unto death.

It will ALWAYS be wrong to take organs without consent. What is this - China?

The day a default position comes into play which allows the Government to take my organs without consent I shall start carrying a card specifically denying consent except to my immediate family.

BTW - are they intending only to take organs from the dead? If so, why - many lives could be saved by taking a kidney from the living. Why would that be any different?

If the system is changed to opt-out rather than opt-in then it's not done without your consent if you haven't opted out is it?

Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Once you're dead your body is nothing, if good can be made from your death in that way then all the better.

I haven't seen statistics for how many people suffer or die because there aren't the available organs, but I'm sure this would help a lot.

I can see what Brown was meaning to say, but the way its been proposed has been nothing less than stupid. It may not be the most important issue in our own personal agendas, but its still one that will immediately cause reaction.

I have no problems with donating my organs upon my death anyway, but I'd at least like the choice so I can consider whether I might not like to. The Government should be doing more to encourage organ donation rather than telling us that unless we specifically object, they will take our organs.

"If the system is changed to opt-out rather than opt-in then it's not done without your consent if you haven't opted out is it?"

Would you trust this Govt to keep accurate records?

im sorry but i agree with brown here. when we are dead, we are dead and if we can save someone's life when we're dead, all the better. people will still have the right to opt out, but if we can save many more lives, we should.

I prefer to let my loved ones make the decision, they all know my views on this.

Too many science fiction films I guess, and movies about rare group donors being in life or death situations when the organ register shows ten people could be saved with just one sacrifice, if that decision is out of the hands of people that love you I'd feel very afraid.

Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Once you're dead your body is nothing, if good can be made from your death in that way then all the better.

One of the curiosities of this policy is the way it rides rough-shod over issues of faith. As a Christian, I broadly agree with the Deputy Editor's assertion above. Other religions, though, not only have very different attitudes towards the treatment of human bodies after death, but may define the moment of death quite differently, and certainly may take very different stances towards the speed at which the body is moved towards religious rites and burial or cremation.

So, to put it another way, one of the many reasons to object to this policy is its implicit secularism: the government's quasi-utilitarian pronouncements trump everyone else's value system.

For once, I'm in the weird position of agreeing with virtually every post here, as well as with the Shadow Health Secretary, which is to say, 'hands off my organs, nation state!'


Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Once you're dead your body is nothing, if good can be made from your death in that way then all the better.

There are many people who on religious and ethical grounds who would disagree. Furthermore, if handled badly there will be many family members who tragically lose their relations prematurely who would be horrified should such proposals take the power of deciding such matters out of their hands (which on the face of it this proposal would do).

However, there is a simple compromise which could substantively address the problem. Instead of making unvalidated expedient assumptions perhaps Goverment should encourage people to make a choice.

When people register with a GP, simply make it mandatory to indicate yes or no to donation and then after this if an individual wishes to change their decision then it is up to the individual to do so by contacting their GP.

Quite frankly the way this is being proposed it sounds as if the Government knows full well if people were asked this question directly the majority would say no. So to avoid this the government is trying to do an end run around individuals wishes and assume because they don't object its alright.

Yet again this Government is attempting to manipulate the individual by 'loading the dice'.


"Presumed consent and you have not opted out is consent"

That is a completely statist line and not one I'd expect from the editorial line here.

As I said earlier (14.19) I don't believe we can trust the govt to keep accurate records.
So, the onus will be on individuals to carry documentation all the time. Of course cards can easily get left behind, so maybe we need something permanenetly attached to show you are an objector - like a bracelet or a star on the clothing....
But, then again, clothing and bracelets can be damaged in accidents - maybe a tattoo on the forearm would be better?
It may sound far-fetched, but would somebody like to explain how an opt-out system can be made fool-proof?

Presumption uses laziness to bolster support. Imagine a voting system where our vote is presumed to be for the governing party unless we say otherwise.

Having said that, I’m sure that there are willing donors whose willingness cannot be verified at the time of their death. I would support a move to let next of kin make the decision (if the dead person hasn’t already made it clear).

I read Sam that about a thousand people die a year. My sympathies are with you on this subject. As long as safe guards can be built in then I think Gordon Brown's idea has merit.

In some respects, the fundamental principle is the same as that behind my objection to ID cards. My identity is inherently mine, and does not emanate from the state; my body is mine, and control of it does not emanate from the state.

I have to say I support presumed consent. It will relieve so much suffering and will mean our system better reflects the feelings of individuals in terms of whether they wish to have their organs donated. Is it sense to have a system where many people who die do not have their organs donated, even though they personally would have wanted it?

My views are here

The decision is for individuals, or if they are incapable then their close family or a representative previously authorised by them to make such a decision. Presumed consent is not consent at all, it is the exercise of State hegemony.

Andrew Ian Dodge@12:09"...NB: I have volunteered myself as an organ donor. However should this law pass I will withdraw that permission...."

Me too. My mortal remains are emphatically not some random spare-parts-box to be rifled through at The State's convenience.

Presumably we'll be carving up under 16s before they're allowed to consent one way or the other.

I agree with previous posters who have suggested GPs asking every patient or just send a grovelling letter to everyone with a simple opt in/out.

I'm sure if it was made easier for people to do, more would get themselves on the organ donor register. At the moment you have to want to donate as opposed to not minding; but that can be improve without nationalising everyone.

my body belongs to ME. Thats ME and no one else but ME. NOT the labour party, the government, gordon stalin, any medical service or anyone else. i know labour wants to reduce us all to the level of farm animals and laboratory rats but it is up to every sane, decent person in this country to say NO, loudly clearly and without reservation. no more of the clunking great fist approach brown, grow up or get out.

If this was a few years down the road and a Cameron government proposal, I suspect many here would not have objections.

This is the same here in the States with gov intrusion and peoples objections, having a mix and even confusion of principle and fear based on the relative state of which party is in charge.

The bottom line of course is once it becomes law, it stays no matter future leaders.

As a doctor, I fully support Andrew Lansley's position that consent in relation to retrieving a deceased person's organs cannot and should never be presumed, simply because there will be situations where consent is in the process being thought out by an individual before an unexpected death, or where the status might not be easily found or erroneously recorded. Many people in our society are vulnerable to exploitation, and this proposal borders on such a principle. Both the cause of science and the spirit of kindness to help must not be adulterated in the quest to meet organ shortages. No political party should not be charged with this fundamental change on the principle of personal autonomy.

As a medical lawyer, I believe that the proposal by Gordon Brown for presumed consent carries with it contraventions that bear striking similarities to the Alder Hey organ scandal.

There are religious and cultural considerations. Are the organs to be harvested only from White subjects? Would a Muslim receive a Christian persons organs? There are other scenarios - what are Hindu's tenets in relation to cremation of a Hindu person minus some body parts? And Buddhist beliefs?

Does the proposal, taken in extremis, tantamout to total evisceration of all healthy parts that are in demand? So, out comes the cornea, the heart, the lungs, the kidneys, nervous tissue ripped out, all bones to be sucked dry of myeloid tissue (marrow)?

When the supply meets the demand, should the harvesting continue, with the result of a surplus stockpile? And what quality assurance will there be for screening against latent diseases that manifest years after successful transplant, such as some dreadful dementias?

Gordon Brown should stick to governing, and given that he is not good at that, he should not comtemplate diversifying, especially into something as sanctified as life and respect for the person. Encourage organ donation by all means, but not stoop to such abuse.

Has Brown come out with anything more awful? Has he gone completely mad? I thought ID Cards were the most totalitarian concept yet devised by New Labour. Presumably the two ghastly intrusions into liberty will be combined, and we'll possibly be permitted to keep control over our bodies after we die if we agree to carry one of his ID cards with a big "no" stamped on it? Subject, no doubt, to post mortem assessment of the greater good of the community by a whey-faced socialist on some Harman-appointed quango or other.

I think Brown is the most egregiously vile politician we have experienced in this country. This sentimental appeal is designed to allow him to intrude his control over our bodies even after we're dead. I've struggled for 5 minutes now to try and avoid using the word which springs to mind in order to describe this "modest" proposal: I think Brown is some form of postmodern fascist. What's coming next week? A two-minute Hate?

This is one of the mnost outrageous propositions this Labour government has put out there.

It opens all sorts of extremely worrying possibilities. Yet another example of basic human rights and civil liberties under attack by Labour.

Their socialist routes are laid bare to see for all.

I totally endorse the last three posts, that is Dr. Teck Khong @ 21.24, Graeme Archer @ 21.46 and rightsideforum @ 22.59.

I would just like to add a comment I heard on this subject earlier today, I think it was Jane Moore on the Andrew Moore programme this morning, who said that Mr. Brown should instead make more of an effort to control the huge increase in binge and under age drinking, which has lead to the increase in the need for transplants (of some organs). The really cynical thing is that more than once he has refused to legislate against the present drinks laws, presumably for fear of upsetting his friends in the drinks trade - who provide a lot of tax income!

Organ Harvesting is simply wrong. Given the propensity for this adminstration in grabbing what is not due to it, then I have no doubt that the do not rescucitate rules will be manipulated to allow corrupted medical officials to declare the inconvenient and objectivist "dead" in order to harvest away.

It is a nightmare Orwellian idea and one to be fought.

Used for "The State"? What are you talking about? They aren't being used by "The State" to construct some Frakenstein's monster, but to save peoples' lives.

I'm the first to protest about the erosion of civil liberties, if that were the case.

If you don't want to help people when you are dead, perhaps because of your irrational beliefs, then by all means opt out.

Otherwise, why would you object to saving lives when you are dead and gone?

Regardless of beliefs, my body is mine to choose what to do with not Gordo Stalin's. That is why I object to this move.

Re: Dr Khong 21:24

No doubt the Muslims/Hindus/Buddhists will get special treatment whilst those of us who have been stupid enough to be loyal to Britain and the Christian tradition will just be treated as common meat.

There is a silver lining. You can insist that you are a Buddhist and there is no way for the socialists to prove that you aren't. It's all in the mind you see.

As the concentration camp survivor Viktor Frankl said: "everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way."

Re: Ian Evans 11:58

Only carrying a card is an acceptable solution. Your other solutions all involve recording the details on yet another government database.

Mr Right [January 14, 2008 at 18:01], the cadaver patrol could not locate your opt-out card, and your relatives cannot be contacted, so before you exsanguinate any further thereby compromising the viability of your organs, they have to be whipped out immediately - left kidney for Ogandu Zolu in end-stage renal failure due to diabetes, cornea for Wong Kee who has been blinded from hot oil splashed from his wok of stir-fry, and your heart for Som-Ali who knackered his through smoking too many Gitaines in France en route to the land of milk and honey, er, sorry, land for milking money.

Incidentally, I can prescribe you an anti-emetic before you read this again.

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